Wedding Planning 101: What to Start Planning First
Getting engaged is such an exciting time, especially when you start planning your big day. There is so much that goes into planning a wedding that it’s often difficult to know where to start – don’t worry, most couples have never done this before and don’t know what their first steps should be
There are so many elements to consider, here is what you should focus on first:
Set a Date
Before you start searching for the perfect venue, you’re going to need to have a date in mind. You should also keep in mind that not all venues will have your date available so it’s best to have a few options in mind so that if you do happen to find a venue that really speaks to you, you will have several different dates to choose from. Create a list of dates you love – your anniversary, someone’s birthday, or any other dates that are meaningful to you. A favourite of my couples is their grandparents’ anniversary! Once you have a few dates in mind, start reaching out to your favourite venues to see if they have your dates open, then make appointments for site visits and meetings with their event managers.
Hire Your Officiant
As an Officiant, I get booked 1-2 years in advance. I even have couples wanting to book me 3 years in advance! This means you need to get your Officiant booked asap or risk losing them to another couple for your date and time. If you have your heart set on an Officiant, please be ready to work with their schedule – I do my best to fit everyone in, but not everyone can get me at 4pm on a Saturday in June – moving your ceremony time by 30 minutes one way or another won’t affect your dinner or photos by very much, but it might mean you get the Officiant you want. And please…please…please…I’m begging you, for your own sanity…don’t order or print your invitations until you have your Officiant booked. It makes it such an impossible task to find someone who is available for your date at the time you have on your invitations.
The Bigger Picture
Yes, the smaller details such as finding your dream dress and deciding on the flavor of your cake are all fun decisions to make, but before you even go there it’s important to create an overall vision for your wedding. What style really speaks to you as a couple and what type of atmosphere do you want to create on the day? Create a vision and inspiration board where you can gather a few ideas to help with the bigger picture for your day. Think in terms of theme, colours, and style. Use photos you have found from other weddings to show your baker, florist, venue, dressmaker….they love when couples show them what they want!
Have a Budget in Place
Your finances can very quickly get out of hand if you don’t create a budget right from the start. Plus, you don’t want to start your life together as a married couple drowning in debt. By setting a realistic budget before you start planning you will make the entire process a lot less stressful. Research ahead of time what each vendor charges so you don’t get a shock when you realize your budget is actually half of what the average wedding costs. I know people have a hard time find a top rated Officiant at the lowest prices. Remember you are paying for their experience and skills and a $100 Officiant (or other low priced vendors) likely has no experience and has no idea how to write a quality ceremony for you or how to handle any problems or issues that might come up during your ceremony.
Draft Your Guest List
Not only will your guest list affect your budget but it will also play a role in your venue search. Your guest list doesn’t have to be final but it helps to have a rough idea of how many people you think you will be inviting to your wedding. Don’t forget anyone you invite to your engagement party, showers, bachelorettes, and other wedding events must also be invited to your wedding so be cautious when sending out those mass emails!
Remember, a solid wedding planning foundation is key to designing the wedding of your dreams so start the planning process off right.
If you would like my printable Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide just let me know!
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